How to Get a Gmail Account and Why

A song from The Sound of Music is running through my head as I begin this blog.  Do you remember the first line of Do-Ra-Me? “Let’s start at the very beginning, a very good place to be.”  It’s very appropriate today because having a Google account, and I mean a Gmail account, is the starting point for many tips and tools that I will be sharing with you in the future.  And they’re all free.

First, why.  Once you have a Gmail account, you can set up the Gmail program so that all of your different email addresses come in through Gmail.  Gmail isn’t the only email program that allows you to do this, but it’s so easy.  Plus, the guys and gals at Google are constantly tweaking and improving behind the scenes without requiring any software updating on your part.  For example, let’s say you have a work email address, your home email address from your internet provider and maybe another free email address from yahoo or hotmail.  Currently, you are either reading those emails from three different programs (isn’t that fun!) or you’ve managed to get all of them to come through Microsoft Outlook or a similar program. But Microsoft Outlook isn’t web-based unless you’re using Outlook Web Access.  If you’re doing that, this tip is going to be too elementary for you.

Anyway, once you’ve set up Gmail to read all of your different email addresses, you can access your email from any computer, smartphone or tablet, anywhere, as long as you’re connected to the internet.  At this point you may be thinking that it will be too confusing.  All those different emails will get jumbled up and you like keeping work emails separated from home, etc.  Your emails won’t get mixed up because I will eventually show you how to automatically separate them as they come into your new Gmail program.  Also, I will show you how to import the old emails you’ve been keeping in a future blog post.

Trust me on this.  Having a Gmail account will open up so many great time-saving tools that you can’t afford not to get started with one NOW.

I’m including a video after the written instruction.   Sometimes it’s good to see a real live example in addition to reading descriptions.

  1. On your computer, go to www.google.com.
  2. Click on create a Gmail account.  (If you already have a Google account through a non-Gmail address and are signed into Google, go ahead and sign out in the right-hand corner.  The click Sign In. Then click create an account for free.)
  3. Type in your first and last name.
  4. Type in the username you’d like.  Chances are, it will already be taken, but google will suggest similar and available names.  You can try as many names as you’d like.
  5. Once you decide on a name that is accepted, create a password.  Create something that you can remember and that uses numbers and letters.  You can even add a special character to make the password stronger.  You can change this password later.
  6. Enter your Birthdate and Gender
  7. You do not need to enter your phone number or another email address.  You can add those at a later time if you wish.
  8. Enter the letters you see in the word verification box. (Hint: There will probably be two “words” divided by a space to be entered.)
  9. Click to agree to Google’s terms of service.
  10. I recommend unchecking the “Google may use my information for adwords, etc.”
  11. Click Next Step
  12. Click Get Started
  13. Click on Gmail in the black Tool bar at the top.
  14. That will open your Gmail account.  Google may provide some introductory videos that you are welcome to watch.
  15. Click Continue
  16. You’ll see some emails from the Gmail team which, again, you’re welcome to follow some of their basic instructions or wait for future posts from me.

Next time I’ll show you how to change some basic settings in Gmail!

The Best Way To Set Up Gmail On Your iPhone and iPad

The ability to check email and send email from anywhere, on any of your devices, is a real time-saver, but only if ALL of your devices “know” what’s being changed, deleted, etc.  It’s called syncing and it’s supposed to make your electronic life easier.  For example, deleting emails on your iPhone while you’re having your oil changed won’t be deleted from your iPad and computer if you haven’t set them all up to delete and synchronize correctly.  Then you are wasting your time by duplicating or triplicating the work later.  More importantly, this method will allow you much greater flexibility for multiple email addresses and calendars.  It’s time to set up your iPhone/iPad properly to liberate your time, and it’s easy.

1. Confirm your iPhone/iPad’s software version

These instructions work for the iPhone 3GS, 4, 4S and any iPad.  This will not work for the original iPhone or iPhone 3G (sorry). Plus, you must have a Gmail account/address.

How do you know which version you’re running?  Do the following:

  1. Touch the Settings icon on your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Touch General
  3. Touch About
  4. Scroll down a little until you see Version.
  5. You should see a number 5.0 or higher.  If you don’t, then you need to connect your iPhone/Ipad to your computer and update the iOS through iTunes. Instructions are here.

Now that you’ve checked and you’re running iOS 5.0 or higher, it’s time to set up your iPhone and/or iPad.  The instructions are the same for iPhones and iPads, so just repeat on as many iPhones and iPads as you own.

2. Remove any previous setups for Gmail on your iPhone/iPad

This will not permanently delete your Gmail account or any of your Gmail information with Google or on your computer.  It will temporarily remove Gmail from your iPhone/iPad.

  1. Touch Settings
  2. Scroll down and touch Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  3. What do you see under Accounts?  You may have one or more listed.
  4. If you see iCloud listed, just leave that alone for now.
  5. If you see Exchange listed, touch that to open it.  If the Account email address at the top is a Gmail address, look at the list just below your Gmail address.  Make certain that Mail is Off. Leave your Contacts and Calendars settings alone for now. Touch the arrow in the top left corner to return to the list of Accounts.
  6. If you see Gmail listed, touch that to open it. Touch Delete Account and then touch Delete Account again.

3. Set up an Exchange account properly

if you did not see an Exchange account with your Gmail address when you checked for previous setups of Gmail, do the following from the Mail, Contacts, Calendars page in your iPhone/iPad Settings page.

  1. Touch Add Account…
  2. Touch Microsoft Exchange
  3. Fill in the form as follows:
    Email – your gmail address
    Domain – don’t type in anything
    Username – your gmail address again
    Password – your gmail password
    Description – it should already have Exchange.  If not, enter Exchange.
  4. Touch Next in top right corner
  5. The same screen will reappear with a field for Server.
  6. Enter m.google.com in the Server field
  7. Touch Next
  8. After verification, you should see this:
  9. If Mail is On, touch On to turn it Off
  10. Touch Save

4. Manage your Google Sync devices

  1.  Press the big, round indented button on your iPhone/iPad.  It’s called the Home key.
  2. Touch the Safari icon
  3. Touch the white website/url field at the top.  Delete whatever is in that field.
  4. Type m.google.com/sync in the field
  5. Touch Go in the bottom right corner
    You will see a screen describing Google Sync for your iPhone
  6. Touch Sign in with your Google Account
  7. Type in your password
  8. Touch the Sign In button
  9. You should see iPhone listed under Manage Devices.
  10. Touch iPhone
  11. In Google Sync Settings make certain the following are checked:
    Enable “Send Mail As” for this device.
    Enable “Delete Email As Trash” for this device.
  12. Touch Save
    (If you see Calendar settings, don’t worry about those right now.  That’s for another topic.)
  13. Press the Home key (big round indented button on iPhone/iPad).

 5. Add your Gmail account the better way

  1. Touch Settings
  2. Touch Mail, Contacts, Calendars
  3. Touch Add Account…
  4. Scroll down and touch Other
  5. Touch Add Mail Account
  6. Fill in the form as follows:
    Name – the name you want seen when you send an email
    Email – your Gmail address
    Password – your Gmail password
    Description should autofill with Gmail.  If not, enter it.
  7. Touch Next
    IMAP tab at top should have blue background.
  8. Under Incoming Mail Server enter:
    Host Name – imap.gmail.com
    User Name – your Gmail address
    Password – If your password wasn’t automatically filled, enter your Gmail password
  9. Scroll down to Outgoing Mail Server and enter:
    Host Name – smtp.gmail.com
    User Name – your Gmail address (enter it even though it says Optional)
    Password – your Gmail password (enter is even though it says Optional)
  10. Touch Next
    After account verification, you will see an IMAP screen with Mail On

  11. Touch Save

This is the foundation for more easily using Gmail and other email addresses on your iPhone/iPad.  Stay tuned – there’s more to come!